dB (Decibel) is a unit of measurement which is used to indicate how loud a sound is. A quiet library is 35dB, normal conversation level is around 60dB, vacuum cleaner is around 75dB, a busy street goes up to 80dB, lawnmower is around 90dB, a plane taking off and rock music usually go over 120dB. Any noise level that goes over 85dB is detrimental to our hearing hair cells and will result in a hearing threshold shift (i.e. hearing loss).
If children continuously immerse themselves in a noisy play environment or they are brought up that way, there is a chance that they get so used to high level of noise that they may not react sensibly to damaging loud noises around them. They may prefer everything loud including the volume of their personal stereo and music from mobile phones. They may become reluctant to apply noise protection at work when they grow up. The more the children know about the importance of hearing conservation, the more likely they are to keep healthy lives, as they get older.
Suggestions and Recommendations
Hearing loss is insidious. By the time you notice a hearing problem, the loss has already occurred.
Don’t wait until it is too late
On protecting children’s hearing, both parents and teachers at school have a big role to play:
- Parents should keep a close eye/ear on the toys their children are playing with
- Examine all the toys and take away batteries from noisy toys
- Before purchasing any toys, listen to the sound level and if you find it too loud, then it will not be an ideal toy for your kid
- Advise children not to place their noise-making toys too close to their ears
- Observe the children if they do complain of earaches, blockage or frown on hearing loud noises emitted from the toys
- If you still hear music while you are 2 feet away from your children’s headphones, get him/her to turn the volume down
- Purchase electrical products with lower noise levels e.g. lawnmower or hairdryer
- If you live in a noisy environment, protect your child’s hearing with a pair of custom-made noise protector. A custom-made noise protector will dampen around 15-30dB level of noise while cotton wool will only dampen about 5dB.
- More education should be provided on the importance of hearing conservation